Douglas L Perry, The Author blog

September 25, 2009

Close But No Cigar

cigarI have finally started receiving some of the rejections from Thrillerfest. The bad news is that I am getting rejections. Yep, they always hurt, no matter how softly delivered.

The good news is that I am getting feedback, and it is outstanding feedback. It’s the kind of feedback that I can use to make the book better.

Here’s the short blurb for the book:

It’s about a trophy wife who’s trying to get away from her overcontrolling husband, even though he’s just restored her sight.

The problems with the book right now are twofold. First the descriptions don’t evoke enough emotion. Yeah, I get that. I am a very analytical person (engineer) and sometimes I can talk details to death. I’m working on that. I’m working on including the “right” details and trying as much as possible to include the emotional effect. And, it’s working. The last couple of chapters that I updated were much better than before.

The other problem is that the protagonist is boring. She too nice, she’s too good, she doesn’t feel real, and therefore the reader cannot relate to her. The reader doesn’t feel like rooting for her. This is tougher to fix, but I feel like I have a pretty good handle on how to do that.

Some agents and writers say “you have to make her flawed”. Yeah, again, I get that, but I have also found that making her too flawed can make her useless. It’s a balance, and a hard one to implement. But I also feel it is what separates mediocre writers, from good or even great writers. Striking the right balance between flaws and strengths is key.

The fact that I got agent feedback means that I am close, but something is still not quite right. The fact that more than one agent gave me feedback says that I am very close.

I working on the next one, and letting the current one sit on the shelf. I have found that putting the work away for a while allows me to see it using fresh eyes, and I will see more flaws.

Add emotion to your descriptions and keep your characters real, and you too can write a great book.

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